Companies are encouraged to continue supporting National Ladder Safety Month by learning about the dangers and proper use of ladders through OSHA’s ladder safety booklet: “Falling Off Ladders Can Kill.” This information is important because falls are the leading cause of death in construction, and falling off of a ladder makes up a third of these fatal falls each year. However, these falls are preventable by following the best ladder safety practices described in OSHA’s booklet.

OSHA first details how to determine when a ladder should be used instead of another piece of equipment like a scissor lift or step ladder. A ladder should not be used if you have to hold heavy items while on the ladder, if the elevated area you are trying to reach is so high the long ladder would be unstable, if you are working from this height for a long time, or if you have to stand on the ladder sideways to conduct your work.

After deciding a ladder is the right tool, OSHA has outlined advice for proper use. Before using a ladder, make sure it is in good working condition and has been properly stored to the manufacturer's specifications. A ladder that should not be used may be bent, missing a step, or the spreader bars do not have a locking mechanism. When using an acceptable ladder, first ensure that you do not have to stand on the top rung to reach your work area. Next, place the ladder on stable and level ground, make sure the base is secured, secure the ladder at least 3 feet above the landing point, and ensure the ladder is fully extended before work.

When working, wear proper (non-slip and flat) footwear, always maintain three points of contact with the ladder, keep your weight centered, and do not carry tools or materials in your hands when climbing the ladder. Additionally, prevent passersby from walking under or too close, and don’t use a ladder in doorways (lock the door if you have to).

For more information on ladder safety and how to prevent fatal falls, visit: https://www.osha.gov/sites/default/files/publications/OSHA3625.pdf

DII is your partner in workplace safety. Our team of safety experts can work with you to understand the steps you should take to improve your workplace safety and implement proper ladder usage. Please contact your DII representative for more information. #NationalLadderSafetyMonth #taketherightsteps

 

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